AUSTIN (KXAN) — There is a lot of talk these days about the “gig economy” — people working a lot of little jobs rather than one big, full time, 40 hour a week job. There are also a lot of people doing a mix of both. They have a full-time job and a “side hustle.’
We’ve heard stories about teachers starting side businesses to supplement their income. We’ve also heard about Austin city employees getting in trouble for using city resources for their other business. And that is the biggest mistake people make, according to University of Texas business professor, John Sibley Butler, Ph.D.
It may seem obvious that you shouldn’t work on your side hustle while you’re on the clock, but Butler says there are other, less obvious ways, you may be mixing your day job and your side hustle.
“You cannot take the IP, the intellectual property, or thought processes from your present job to another job,” Butler said.
That can be difficult when you consider Butler’s second piece of advice for would-be side hustlers: Do what you know how to do.
Butler repeatedly mentions “knowledge and know-how” when talking about starting a business. He recommends using your skills and expertise, but that doesn’t mean if you work in tech, your side business has to be tech-oriented.
“If you’re a software engineer and you want to bake cookies, you better know about cookies,” he says.
Seems obvious, but Butler says you’d be surprised how often that piece of advice is overlooked.
“I ask people, ‘Would you fly a helicopter without any training? No. Would you start a business without studying?,” he shakes his head. “Uh huh.”
Butler also recommends being realistic about how much time and energy your side hustle will require. At the same time, know you want to get out of it. Do you hope to make this a new career one day? Or is it a labor of love that can provide you with a little spending money?
“Although, remember that some of the great companies, most of the great companies, started as a hobby and as a side hustle.”